Bellator's spring season starts on Friday with a featherweight championship bout between Joe Warren and Pat Curran plus four featherweight tourney bouts. Cagewriter caught up with Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney and found out which fights he's most looking forward to this season. Here they are, in no particular order, complete with Rebney's comments.
-- Joe Warren vs. Pat Curran on March 9 for the Bellator featherweight title: "Joe has so much at stake, and Pat has built such a resume fighting under our banner," Rebney said.
-- Ben Askren vs. Douglas Lima on April 6 for Bellator welterweight title: "It's kind of an old-school MMA match-up. You know exactly what Ben's going to try to do. It reminds me of the old days when you thought, I know. He's going to try to take him down and submit him. Ben's going to try to put him on his back, and Lima's going to try to stand and knock him out. He just made a couple folks' top 10, of which he is deserving."
-- Eddie Alvarez vs. Shinya Aoki on April 2o: "For obvious reasons. I'm a huge fan of Ed, and he's just jumping out of the frying pan into the fire with that one."
-- Megumi Fujii vs. Jessica Aguilar, which sources close to the bout say is May 18: "It's No. 1 vs. No. 2, and it's two wickedly talented women who rely on no spin, no promotion. They're just two women who fight at the highest level in the world and they're going to get to face each other."
-- Giva Santana vs. Bruno Santos on March 16 in the middleweight tournament: "Being a southern California guy, Giva Santana is a guy I followed for a while. He's an old-school guy who has deserved a shot on a big stage but because he's perceived as being one dimensional, because everything ends via armbar, he hasn't been given that shot. Him and his Santos fight. I never pick a guy because I always want everyone to have an equal shot but I look at a guy like that, and he really is reminiscent of the old-school guys. He's got a discipline that he relies on and believes it heart and soul, and it almost has a spiritual connection to it. His fight in the first round of the tournament because he's a terrific human being. This is his opportunity."